Injury Rates and Psychological Wellbeing in Temporary Work: a Study of Seasonal Workers in the New Zealand Food Processing Industry
Lamm, F; Schweder, P; Quinlan, M; Bohle, P; Ang, A
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A growing body of research has examined the effects of job insecurity or different forms of precarious work, such as temporary employment, on occupational health and safety (OHS). A number of reasons have been proposed to explain the more mixed results with regard to studies of temporary employment, including the diversity of these work arrangements, the health indices used, and a number of other complicating factors. There have been very few studies of seasonal work, as a specific form of temporary employment. In addition to addressing this gap, this study provides evidence with regard to two other explanations of ‘mixed results’, namely the importance of controlling for exposure and the possibility that associations differ depending on the particular health indices/outcome measures selected. Findings highlight the importance of controlling for exposure when comparing OHS outcomes for permanent and temporary workers, using multiple health indices and the need for systematic research into different types of temporary work. Several factors that may explain why seasonal workers experience higher rates of injury but appear to have adapted positively to intermittent employment are identified. The study reinforces the need for a more nuanced explanation of how temporary work can affect health and safety.